Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Bell Laughlin (1879-1941)

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John Bell Laughlin
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Lawyer, MLA (1927-1932), MLA (1937-1940), MLA (1941-1945).

Born near Miami on 21 December 1879, son of Andrew Laughlin and Rachel Bell (1855-1934), he was educated at Cartwright School and St. John’s College, graduating in Arts from the University of Manitoba. He articled in law to N. P. Buckingham of Boissevain and later with Campbell, Pitblado & Company. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1905 then practiced law at Cartwright as of 1906. He was Solicitor for the Bank of Toronto and the Rural Municipality of Roblin.

On 21 January 1909, he married Harriet Margaret McKay (1885-1965) and they had four children: Angus Andrew Laughlin, Margaret Bell Laughlin (1911-1984), Donovan John Laughlin (1915-1994), and Hugh McKay Laughlin (1919-2012). He served as Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Roblin (1920-1928), and a Warden of the Anglican Church. He was a member of the Manitoba Bar Association and the Masonic Fraternity. He was elected as a Conservative to the Manitoba Legislature in 1927 but was defeated in 1932. He was re-elected in 1936 and 1941. His recreations included curling and golf.

He died at Cartwright on 19 August 1941 and was buried in the Cartwright Cemetery.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Sleeping sickness claims member,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 August 1941. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 105]

Obituary [Angus Andrew Laughlin], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1976, page 21.

Death registration [Donovan John Laughlin], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Hugh McKay Laughlin], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 January 2012.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 February 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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